Fares fair?

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pennyk

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I paid quite a bit for my roundtrip from ORL to NYP in a bedroom last week. I looked at the fares for a few weeks and chose the days that had the best fares. I wanted a bedroom in a new car (of which supply is very limited). I know I paid more than I would have paid a few years ago, but I wanted to travel in a bedroom in a new car and see the new station. So be it.
 

Bostontoallpoints

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The tai-weekly service was due to cratering ridership, and thus no revenue coming in. Without revenue, you can't pay employees, and without employees, you can't run extra cars. Now that demand is recovering, revenue is increasing, and service levels are increasing. With pent up demand driving more people to be interested in being out, I would expect to see high prices and full trains be the norm for some time.



And complaining about it on a web forum is even a bigger waste of time. At least Congress can actually do something to solve the problem, unlike anyone here.

I'm sure they're crying themselves to sleep at night regretting leaving money on the table by not selling you a room for cheaper than the market will bear.
So what Amtrak trips are you taking in the future and how much are you spending?
 

Devil's Advocate

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First Class airfare is a relative bargain compared to just a few years ago - not that you get much for it currently, with lounges closed or lacking services and minimal on-board amenities.
Other than a 50/50 PDB or a random snack plate my usual flights seem to be back to pre-pandemic service levels.

Like because you're right; Sad because it's true. Upgrades were getting pretty lean even in 2019. Ironically my now cancelled and refunded trip on AA last summer had mostly cleared.
After getting bumped into coach on a revenue ticket (thanks to a cancelled flight) it occurred to me that shrinking cabins and increasing status rosters are also part of the equation.

I would expect to get Lounge access when traveling between Canada and the US since it is an international flight, though some airlines explicitly exclude Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, none of which are really Domestic.
Where I live domestic non-stops run twice the duration of our longest international flight.
 
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AMTRAK709

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I, too, have been an intense railfan all my 73 years of life. Really fell in love with the trains and especially the sleepers while in college in Virginia in the mid 1960's I have supported Amtrak since its inception and have to date travelled about 300,000 miles on the rails. For the last twenty years, my regular most used route has been the Crescent ATN-WAS or NYP and return. A fare, one-way, ATN-NYP @ $971 in a bedroom has clearly caught my attention. I just can NOT justify the expense. I have really tried to be loyal and recommend Amtrak to my co-workers. They--whoever they are?--are making it impossible. Just checked my favorite route CHI-SEA-CHI and a bedroom @ $2000??!!?? I acknowledge the supply and demand issue--but still. I am sad about it.
 

Sidney

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I have been a loyal Amtrak rider for over thirty years and each year I have taken circle trips,never paying more than low bucket for a roomette. I ll be catching the LS in Buffalo around Midnight and taking the Texas Eagle to LA Friday. Thankfully,I booked before the recent price hikes. I am another one who can't justify the roomette prices now. I look ahead to April and a roomette from Chi to LA is over $1000. Insane. Obviously the rooms are selling,but if the lowest Southwest Chief fare from Chi-Lax is $899 or more I just won't go and I have been a huge Amtrak supporter always telling people how great traveling by train is. These days with the outrageous pricing,I am less inclined to promote train travel. We have reached a breaking point where the train experience is not worth the price.

simply put when the SW Chief was $623 it was worth it. Not at $899
 

niemi24s

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A fare, one-way, ATN-NYP @ $971 in a bedroom has clearly caught my attention. I just can NOT justify the expense.
If you sniff around long enough, you might stumble across a low bucket Bedroom for one senior twixt ATL and NYP for $610.20. High bucket would be <gasp> $1127.20!
 

zephyr17

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As I said in a recent thread, I recently booked Everett to New York in a roomette single occupancy for $809.40 (with senior discount, would have been $840 without it). According to Niemi24's charts, that's low bucket.

The three day a week thing has clearly skewed fares towards high buckets on the those days, as they were the only bookable days until fairly recently. Things are warped right now.

I never have and will not now pay high bucket fares. High buckets have always been outrageous. I will either not travel or take an alternative (fly or drive) if I can't find an alternative day with a lower bucket.

So yes, I will not take Amtrak at those fares. But I still take Amtrak. Most of the time I can find a fare I can live with.
 

caravanman

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I too have enjoyed many Amtrak miles, especially enjoyable when I got almost $2 to my £1. :D
We are all fed up with the Covid worries, and sad to find that rail fares are now much higher.
Maybe we should calm down and wait for a little longer, I feel that when things get more back to normal, maybe the train fares will reduce again?
(I know the next "normal" may not be the same as our past situations, but we have to hope for improvements...)
 

zephyr17

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It is pretty unusual to get lounge access for standard Domestic First Class in the US. Lounge Access is normally though Club membership for US domestic First Class. YYZ to LAX is not exactly domestic unless Canada has finally seen the light of the day and joined the United States 😬
You get lounge access on a paid Domestic First Class ticket or a frequent flyer award on Alaska, even in a discount fare class (P for discount First Class, IIRC).

You don't get lounge access on a First Class upgrade.
 

MARC Rider

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Before you start getting too upset at Amtrak sleeper fares, check this out:

Travel by train to destinations around North America on your luxurious private train car - the Chapel Hill Railcar.

I saw this car tacked on to the end of the Silver Meteor as it was roaring through Princeton Junction last week and looked it up to find out more about it.

They will give you a nice 3-day trip between Cincy and DC "starting at $15,000" for "up to 6 people" (4 bedrooms and a sleeper sofa in the observation lounge). I'm sure you don't have to worry about getting served flex meals, either. :) They'll plan your own bespoke rail tour across America to wherever Amtrak lets them, "starting at $6,000 a day." (And you know when they quote prices as "starting at ..." the most common price you'll end up paying is usually a good bit higher.) That means your 4-day trip across the country will be "starting at" $24,000, or $4,000 a person if you manage to get the right combination of couples and singles to fill up the car. It's also not clear if you have to pay to return the car back to base if your final destination isn't Cincinnati.

I also looked up the Royal Canadian Pacific, which will be offering public tours once they decide COVID is over. No prices being quoted yet, but some other stuff on the web suggests that a 4 day trip will be running $8,000.

It certainly makes the $400 Baltimore-Chicago trip I booked on the Lake Shore Limited look like a real bargain, even if I do have to eat Flex Meals. And that price includes business class from Baltimore to New York and a 2 hour layover at the new Metropolitan Lounge at the Moynihan Train Hall in New York.
 

dlagrua

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Yes sleeper fares can be crazy high. Either they will keep selling at the current prices, will create new first class air travelers from long time loyal Amtrak travelers (who will fly fraction of the sleeper price) , or it may collapse the LD service. Where is the comment from the Rail Passengers Association on their take on this?
 

AMTRAK709

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As a follow up to my post here earlier this week, I did find and buy a $792.20 round trip fare ATN-NYP in a roomette (appears to be low bucket in June 2021). I have always preferred the bedrooms but (for one traveler) that would have added exactly $1200.00 to the fare. My favorite thing used to be upgrading to an accessible bedroom when released if still available about 48 hours before train departure. My personal opinion is the "H" room is the best space on viewliner trains. I cannot image what that space must cost these days. I am trying my best be remain an intense railfan of 73 years and a loyal Amtrak supporter. It is just getting harder to do that.
 

Sidney

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As a follow up to my post here earlier this week, I did find and buy a $792.20 round trip fare ATN-NYP in a roomette (appears to be low bucket in June 2021). I have always preferred the bedrooms but (for one traveler) that would have added exactly $1200.00 to the fare. My favorite thing used to be upgrading to an accessible bedroom when released if still available about 48 hours before train departure. My personal opinion is the "H" room is the best space on viewliner trains. I cannot image what that space must cost these days. I am trying my best be remain an intense railfan of 73 years and a loyal Amtrak supporter. It is just getting harder to do that.
I hear you. I've been doing cross country trips for over thirty years. It's getting to the point where I can't justify sleeper prices. However,there are low buckets of $505 and $530 one person senior roomette fares on the CZ and EB.,even though there aren't too many left.Eastern trains are the worst. Continued flex dining,no sightseer cars,obviously and high prices.
 

Tom Booth

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There have been a lot of A.U. members recently complaining about the high costs of sleeper accommodations, together with the poor meals on offer...

My favourite ride is the Zephyr, and just for fun I checked some fares for later in the year.

I find that a roomette from Chicago to Sacramento is $640 in October, and only $555 in December.

I think those are comparable fares to a few years ago, or is my old age playing tricks on my memory?
What has skyrocketed are bedroom prices, not roomettes. In many cases more than double from pre Covid levels. Particularly on the Zephyr.
 

20th Century Rider

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Supply and demand! Lots of folks want to go to LA and Southern California.

Same thing happens on the Florida Trains in the Winter ( directional in their cases)and the Zephyr and Empire Builder in the Summer.

I agree that the Texas Eagle and Chief Rooms have become to Pricey for what's on offer, I can't afford them, but folks are riding, so that's the way it is!
And if they pack their PB & J sandwiches they'll have something to eat too!

better than flex!.jpg
 

MARC Rider

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Before you start getting too upset at Amtrak sleeper fares, check this out:

Travel by train to destinations around North America on your luxurious private train car - the Chapel Hill Railcar.

I saw this car tacked on to the end of the Silver Meteor as it was roaring through Princeton Junction last week and looked it up to find out more about it.

They will give you a nice 3-day trip between Cincy and DC "starting at $15,000" for "up to 6 people" (4 bedrooms and a sleeper sofa in the observation lounge). I'm sure you don't have to worry about getting served flex meals, either. :) They'll plan your own bespoke rail tour across America to wherever Amtrak lets them, "starting at $6,000 a day." (And you know when they quote prices as "starting at ..." the most common price you'll end up paying is usually a good bit higher.) That means your 4-day trip across the country will be "starting at" $24,000, or $4,000 a person if you manage to get the right combination of couples and singles to fill up the car. It's also not clear if you have to pay to return the car back to base if your final destination isn't Cincinnati.

I also looked up the Royal Canadian Pacific, which will be offering public tours once they decide COVID is over. No prices being quoted yet, but some other stuff on the web suggests that a 4 day trip will be running $8,000.

It certainly makes the $400 Baltimore-Chicago trip I booked on the Lake Shore Limited look like a real bargain, even if I do have to eat Flex Meals. And that price includes business class from Baltimore to New York and a 2 hour layover at the new Metropolitan Lounge at the Moynihan Train Hall in New York.
Here's another one:

Belmond Hotels, Trains, River Cruises - Discover Belmond Luxury Travel - Journey

It's an Amsterdam-Venice one night trip. Two lunches, a dinner, and continental breakfast included. £2,835 That's a bit over $4,000 at current rates of exchange.

But at least you won't have to worry about being served Flex meals.
 
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MARC Rider

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The more I think about it, there's some sort of perverse disconnect between "yield management" and the alleged "law" of supply and demand. For a product like railroad transportation, which has high fixed overhead costs, the more passengers you stuff into the train, the less the expense per passenger for running the train. Also, when the train is relatively empty, the on-board experience is better because (1) the train isn't crowded, and (2) the staff has fewer other passengers to deal with, so they can pay more attention to your needs. If you're riding in coach, an empty train means that you won't have to endure a seatmate, you can always get a window seat and a seat in the lounge. From this point of view, the fares should be higher when the train is empty, and a discount applied for full trains. :) Yet the yield management software prices things in the exact opposite. I'm not sure whether a reversal of yield management algorithms would provide better financial results, especially when the trains are not running full. Or perhaps it might be better to do away with yield management entirely?

One thing about the underlying assumptions of the discipline of economics is that all of the players in a free market are making rational decisions that provide them with maximum monetary benefit. This is obviously not the case in reality, perhaps to the extent that the discipline of economics really doesn't have much to teach us. :)
 

flitcraft

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One thing about the underlying assumptions of the discipline of economics is that all of the players in a free market are making rational decisions that provide them with maximum monetary benefit. This is obviously not the case in reality, perhaps to the extent that the discipline of economics really doesn't have much to teach us
Yup--the 'rational actor' assumption baked into economic theory is why economics fails the 'real world' test so often. And why psychology-trained Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in economics for empirically debunking that assumption.
 

niemi24s

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What has skyrocketed are bedroom prices, not roomettes. In many cases more than double from pre Covid levels. Particularly on the Zephyr.
Skyrocketed? Don't confuse the recent relatively modest fare increases in the bedroom buckets on the CZ of 1.9% to 4.5% with the normal ~100% increase from low to high bucket.

F'rinstance, if you look long enough on the CZ you might find a low bucket Bedroom ($1015) one day, a high bucket ($2022) one the next day and some other bucket in between those two the day after that! That's the normal bucket system that's been in existence for years. Sometimes fares for a certain accommodation can remain constant for days on end. They can also jump around like fleas on a hot brick! :)
 

caravanman

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What has skyrocketed are bedroom prices, not roomettes. In many cases more than double from pre Covid levels. Particularly on the Zephyr.
Ah, those fabled bedrooms... I have heard of them, passed by them, but sadly, even in the good old days, never snagged one! ;)
Just a thought, what were "roomettes" called previously, I seem to remember the term "roomette" appearing only in the last 15 years?
 
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Ah, those fabled bedrooms... I have heard of them, passed by them, but sadly, even in the good old days, never snagged one! ;)
Just a thought, what were "roomettes" called previously, I seem to remember the term "roomette" appearing only in the last 15 years?
Originally on the Superliner's, they were called "Economy Bedrooms"...the larger ones with the bathrooms were called "Deluxe Bedrooms"...
 

Michigan Mom

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Been giving a lot - well, some - thought to the Fares discussion, having just returned from a trip... have to get a TR together... anyway, the fares are not unfair, in the sense that, as travel gets going, the trains are filling up, in coaches and sleeping cars alike. It was clear people are willing to pay more than the low bucket we paid. What's the dividing line? It's really in how you look at the pricing in exchange for what you expect - so for 3 people, a LSL trip from end to end was $932. I'd actually contend that was quite reasonable, given the included meals and a bed to sleep on, plus the convenience of city center to city center - no need for cab, rideshare, or long bus ride to and from an airport.
 

fdaley

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Originally on the Superliner's, they were called "Economy Bedrooms"...the larger ones with the bathrooms were called "Deluxe Bedrooms"...
And when they were first introduced, the Viewliner roomettes were called "compartments" to distinguish them from the heritage roomettes, which only had room for one person. I think the bedrooms were called "deluxe bedrooms" like their Superliner counterparts.
 

zephyr17

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And when they were first introduced, the Viewliner roomettes were called "compartments" to distinguish them from the heritage roomettes, which only had room for one person. I think the bedrooms were called "deluxe bedrooms" like their Superliner counterparts.
Never knew that but that is funny, considering the traditional compartment was larger than the double bedroom and priced higher. Not a glorified section with worse beds and a door.
 
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